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The American dream in a Swedish representative sample: Personality traits predict life outcomes better than childhood background
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division of Psychology and Organisation Studies. University of Skövde, Sweden. (Personlighet och Socialpsykologi)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0629-353X
University of Skövde, Sweden.
2016 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The American Dream is that any individual, not regarding family background, can achieve what they desire, in terms of life,economic liberty, and happiness. An indication of the American dream would be if individual adult personality traits predicted lifeoutcomes better than childhood background. A sample of the Swedish population, representative in age, sex, and occupation (N= 5,280) was 2012 measured on adult personality traits, childhood socioeconomic status (SES), and 3 life outcomes – education,income, and life outcome satisfaction. Childhood SES accounted for almost twice the disattenuated variance (22%) compared topersonality (12%) in educational attainment, while personality accounted for almost twice the variance (12%) compared to childhoodSES (7%) in annual income. Life outcome satisfaction was only predicted by personality (37%) and not by childhood SES (0%).Moreover, particularly the traits extraversion and neuroticism showed a full compensating catch-up effect on high childhood SESin annual income. Expressions of personality may be growing in predictive importance and constitute a societal trademark of theAmerican dream being present. Sweden is a renowned progressive, individualistic, and egalitarian country, which could make theresults of wide-reaching interest.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. 1-1 p.
Keyword [en]
Personality traits, background
National Category
Social Psychology
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-8664OAI: diva2:869063
2nd World Conference on Personality Psychology, March 31 to April 04, 2016, Búzios, Brazil
Available from: 2016-04-11 Created: 2015-11-12 Last updated: 2016-05-31Bibliographically approved

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Kajonius, Petri
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